Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Adventures in the home improvement stores continue...

So last week paint was on sale... So being the natural penny pincher that I am, I went shopping when the bargains abound.

And anyone who has ever bought a can of paint and intended to use it themselves knows that they shake it up in the store for a reason. The pigments are not an original part of the paint, so they can settle out, and they can settle themselves out faster than you might like. So in an effort to prevent a color-matching disaster, I have been very busy getting that mess up on the walls!

But back to the home improvement store adventures. I learned a couple of things about my local stores.

First off, they are not as intelligently organized as you might think. For example, when I went looking for new toilet seats to put in my newly refinished bathrooms, I went looking near the toilets. Mistake. The toilets are over by the bathtubs, I guess it's the porcelain connection. Not finding my quarry there, I figured ok, maybe closer to plumbing supplies? Nope. Not there either. So I passed by all the aisles of various pipe fittings... Hmm, maybe they are near the shower and faucet fixtures? Nope. So much for that idea. ...Now, I know what I'm after, and I know I am in the right store, and I know that the aforementioned store is a profit seeking entity that earns that profit by having the products one needs in this particular situation readily available to the masses. I don't want to look like an idiot having to ask where they keep their toilet seats, but hell, even if I did, I can't find anyone around to ask... So after a few minutes fruitlessly scanning the aisles, I found them. Where, you ask? Why, a mere 6 aisles away from plumbing and related fixtures, well past the electrical section, right near the water filtration units, of course. (The water filtration section including units intended to be installed under the sink, which, if you ask me would be better marketed if you put them near the sink and faucet fixtures... But what do I know?) So I am scanning the aisle of toilet seats and water filtration units, and I find an appropriate and affordable option. Mind you, I also ran across a significantly not-affordable option too. Did you know that there are toilet seats that are not encrusted with gold and jewels and yet still cost upwards of a thousand dollars? A THOUSAND DOLLARS! FOR A TOILET SEAT! JUST THE SEAT! NOT EVEN A WHOLE TOILET! Now sure, it will also function as a bidet spritzing your naughty bits with perfectly warmed water, but COME ON! OVER A THOUSAND DOLLARS? If I am buying that, I'm certainly not the one going out to the home improvement store and buying it myself or doing a do-it-yourself installation. If I am dropping more than a grand on a toilet seat, I am going to call some professional up, and they can get it themselves at some contractor's depot at half the cost and then mark it up to over a grand... INCLUDING INSTALLATION! (Though who would you call for that? There are electrical components involved for that bidet water to be warmed, so am I looking in the yellow pages for a plumber or an electrician?)

The second thing I learned in the home improvement store is that the products we have come to know and love have apparently been appropriated and renamed. For example, did you know that masking tape is no longer masking tape? It is now all considered "painter's tape." I learned this when I was in the paint department and asked where I would find the tape...

The clerk looked at me quizzically, "What? Like electrical tape?"

My impulse was to reply, "I am in a home improvement store's PAINT department asking for tape, and you instantly think 'electrical tape?' If you're that idiotic, you deserve your lot in life as a home improvement store clerk." Being that we just finished with the holiday season, I quieted my impulse and said, "No. I need masking tape... I'm not looking for the over-priced blue painter's tape though... I just need standard masking tape because I am not dealing with any delicate surfaces."

"Uhh... I don't know, but all of our tape is in that aisle down the way... See where the guy with the hat is?"

"The guy in the hat that is 30 yards away and walking toward us? Yeah, I see the guy in the hat."

"Well, it's down by him."

"He's walking down a main aisle here. Is it down by where he was when you pointed him out, or closer to where he is walking now?"

"Umm, well, sort of where he was before... But on the other side."

Impulse control fading out now, "Ugh... Never mind. You just don't worry your pretty little head and go back to leaning against that display there, I will find it on my own. You're doing a great job though... Who knows how long that display would have managed without you leaning there!"

(Now in my retail days, we were instructed to address product location questions by walking the customer to the location. Not by pointing to an area vaguely near where we're talking about, and certainly not pointing to someone who is in motion and who may or may not be near that location when the customer gets to the right area. Seriously... He deserves his lot in life.)

So I passed the guy in the hat. I kept going. I scanned the aisles and eventually found the right one, and there was plenty of tape. All the standard varieties, electrical tape, (strangely not in the electrical department, but that goes back to organization,) the over-priced blue painter's tape I expected, duct tape in colors I had not previously imagined, plumber's tape, (again, not in plumbing,) packaging tape, paper tape, and masking tape! VICTORY AT LAST! And as I examined the various widths of the masking tape, and the ridiculous pricing for the masking tape, and the packaging of the ridiculously priced masking tape in assorted widths, I kind of understood where the clerk got confused. Apparently now all tape previously known as masking tape is now packaged and sold as painter's tape. I must have just confused him by excluding the blue variety and referring to it by it's old name. Silly me.

I will likely post pictures of the improvements once things are closer to being finished as a whole... Right now everything is just a mess!

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